Nigeria: Covid-19 - PTF Mandates Schools to Conduct Weekly Assessments

18 September 2020

As Nigeria prepares for the reopening of schools, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has mandated schools to carry out weekly risk assessments while states and local governments are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessments.

The Head, Department of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Elsie Ilori, announced this on Thursday in Abuja at the joint PTF briefing on COVID-19.

According to her, the PTF has continued to educate the public on measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

"We have also continued to review the situation in other countries that have reopened schools. We also receive guidance from WHO and other public health authorities.

"If schools carefully coordinate, plan and put the required safety measures in place before reopening, there is a lesser risk of COVID-19 cases in school settings.

"We are working closely with the Federal Ministry of Education, PTF-COVID-19, states and our partners to ensure that the required safety measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our schools.

"The PTF-COVID-19 and Federal Ministry of Education have mandated schools to conduct periodic (weekly) risk assessments, while States and local governments are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessment respectively.

"This will help to promptly address the gaps that may exist in reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread in schools.

"Beyond this, local governments have been advised to set up multi-sectoral school health committees dedicated to supporting and monitoring the implementation of safety protocols in the schools," she said.

Mrs Ilori further stated that safe school reopening required the collective efforts of all, including parents, teachers, school authorities, communities, civil society organisations and the media.

"The government cannot do it alone. We must all work together," he said.

The PTF advised school managements against conducting tests for returning students.

"The focus should be on monitoring and careful observation of students with all non-pharmaceutical measures in place," she said.

The PTF Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, also explained that conducting such tests would be "an unnecessary burden on parents as the result is only good as when it is done because anyone could contact COVID-19 after the test if proper non-pharmaceutical measures are not observed." (NAN)

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